KATHMANDU, July 29: Ambulance drivers associated with government as well as private hospitals and voluntary organizations ferry patients to hospitals most of the times negotiating their way through heavy traffic in the Kathmandu Valley.
It hardly needs emphasizing that they need to be alert while on duty so that they can transport wounded, ailing or pregnant woman seeking immediate treatment to hospitals safely.
But in a grim revelation, the Metropolitan Police Traffic Division (MPTD), Ramshah Path, said it has charged eight ambulance drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol in the fiscal year 2015/016 alone.
“Every driver needs to be sincere when they are behind the wheels. But ambulance drivers driving under the influence of alcohol is simply unimaginable,” DIG Prakash Aryal, chief of the MPTD, said.
According to the MPTD, the eight ambulance drivers were charged under the public offences act after they were caught driving in a state of inebriation.
Anyone found breaching lanes, disobeying traffic signals, over speeding, driving negligently, blowing sirens unnecessarily, among others, are held accountable for their behavior. But ambulances on duty are not interrupted under normal conditions.
“But when we get suspicions of their behavior, we check ambulance drivers, too, to deter unlawful activities on their part,” said the DSP Rajendra Prasad Bhatta, spokesperson of MPTD.
Those ambulances detained for drunken driving are Ba 13 Cha 8927 from Thankot, Ba 5 Cha 525 from Durbar Marg, Na 2 Cha 9133 from Maharajgunj, Ba 1 Jha 9611 from Thankot, Ba 5 Cha 6009 from Bhaktapur.
Similarly, the drivers of ambulances Ba 8 Cha from Kathmandu, Ba 12 Cha 8158 from Bauddha, 2015, Na 3 Cha 8797 from Kalanki were also held after their drivers were found to be inebriated.
The MPTD has taken legal action against over 200,000 drivers driving under the influence of alcohol ever since it launched its campaign against drunk-driving from late 2011. The campaign aims to lower road accidents attributed to drunk-driving.
In the fiscal year 2015/016 only 479 vehicles in the Kathmandu Valley were charged for drunk driving, which comprise of 122 trucks, 128 buses, 46 micro buses, 151 rental cars, seven tempos, six tractors and 8 ambulances.